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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

GAWA Day #48: Christmas Market and Wine

I should have titled my Grand Around the World Adventure Day #48:  Rothenburg and Wurzburg.  My Tauck Budapest to Amsterdam River Cruise visited both cities today.  But who cares about them, and Rothenburg is not even a city, with a population around 10,000.  To indicate how important it is, though, this tiny location is prominently included in the major cities of Bavaria.   In case you did not know:
  • hamlet:  less than 100
  • village:  100 to 1,000
  • town:  1.000 to 20,000
  • large town:  20,000 to 100,000
  • city:  100,000 to 300,000
  • large city:  300,000 to 1 million
  • metropolis:  one to three million
  • conurbation:  3-10 million (Bet you did not know this!)
  • megalopolis:  more than 10 million
So, anyway, we caught a bus ride to Rothenburg that took us two hours, for the autobahn had a problem.  There is no speed limit for more than half of this speedway, but sometimes accidents happen.  Here are some fascinating facts:
  • in Germany, autobahns carry 31% of the road traffic, but only account for 13% of traffic deaths
  • fatality rates:
    • autobahn:  1.9 deaths per billion kilometers
    • urban streets:  4.7
    • rural roads:  6.6
  • there are around 10 countries with traffic death rates/100,000 under 5, including Germany
  • the USA is at 11.6, China 20.5, Thailand 38.1 and Eritrea 48.4 (the worst)
I joined, from right, Kim, Jan and Alan from Sunnybank, Australia for lunch and had another weiner schnitzel with a salad and pilsner beer:



The one-pager provided by Tauck on Rothenburg goes up to the year 1900, and much of the attraction has to do with Medieval architecture and their restored past.  Here is where Christmas markets are legendary and my blue bar led me into one of the largest Christmas stores:



However, here is what interests me about Rothenburg:
  • Considered to be the epitome of the German Home Town, representing all that was quintessentially German.
  • The local citizenry strongly supported Hitler sending his organizers on day trips to see the most German of German Towns.
  • In October 1938 all Jews were expelled.
  • Other population areas in the country began to emulate what was happening here.
  • They were bombed on 31March1945, but only one part of the town was affected.
  • U.S. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy (the civilian) was aware of the importance and beauty of Rothenburg, so he sent six men led by a first lieutenant into town with a white flag to negotiate the surrender of the town.
  • Ignoring the order of Hitler, the local military commander accepted the offer and Rothenburg was spared.
Surely sounds like a movie.  In any case, this is an important reason why throngs of tourists flock here, including us, for Rothenburg, indeed, is worth a quick stop.


According to our tour guide, there is no historical significance to any of these buildings, but the setting makes for a fine postcard, not unlike the Eiffel Tower for Paris.

We then were driven to Wurstburg for wine tasting at the former home of the Prince Bishop:




The long day ended with an Oom-pah-pah band:




I thought I'd sneak in a couple of boasts as who gets this far on my postings?  First, if you've been reading this blog, I did indicate that Hawaii football coach would soon be fired.  He was.  Second, I picked the All Blacks from New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup.  They did.  I smartly avoided making any prediction regarding the Baseball World Series, and wisely so, for I would have selected the Mets, who were largely embarrassed.

Incidentally, Regensburg has now won four straight baseball championships in  Germany.  When we toured the city I noticed a sign for Baseball Stadium (above).  You ask, what, baseball in Europe?  Yes, apparently this is one those legacies left by our military.  There is a rather large Army Garrison located at Hohenfels, just outside of Regensburg.  Interesting that I asked a couple of local citizenry what they thought of American troops still here 70 years after World War II.  They both said there was no U.S. military presence anymore.  They all left a long time ago.  Pardon me, but 37,000 active soldiers are still here in Germany (right), and nearly 50,000 in Japan.  In fact, 150,000 active duty personnel are deployed in 150  countries.  But this is just another one of those matters I'll again carp on in the future.

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Tropical Cyclone made landfall over Yemen today, predicted to bring anywhere from one to twenty years of rain:


While at least three deaths have been  reported, the good news is that this is the part of Yemen that is controlled by ISIS

Okay:  Yemen 1 versus Florida 0.  What do these scores stand for?  Over the past decade, Yeman has had one hurricane make landfall, and maybe the first hurricane-strength storm ever.  Florida has had NO, ZERO, hurricanes since Wilma on 24October2005.
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